Portion of Boracay island closed after pooping incident

Marje Pelayo   •   August 15, 2019   •   1566

(L-R) A woman buries a soiled diaper in the sand while another woman washes the child’s behind on the beach.

MANILA, Philippines – Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu on Wednesday (August 14) ordered the temporary closure of Section 1 in Boracay Island following an incident where a foreign tourist allowed her child to poop in its shoreline.

A video of the tourist went viral on social media which also showed another woman burying a used diaper into the sand, according to the narration in the recording.

Cimatu, who heads the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF), ordered a 2 to 3-day closure of a portion of the beach where the defecation incident happened to allow clean-up operation.

The closed portion was cordoned off and placed with markers that say: “Temporarily closed for swimming. (Clean up ongoing.)”

Within the 48 to 72-hour rehabilitation period, water samples from the affected area will be observed and checked until the tests reveal that water quality is restored to safe level.

According to BIATF General Manager Naty Bernardino, the closure order covers the 100 meter beachfront of Station 1 where the incident happened.

“Mayroong nakabantay doon na (The area is guarded by a) PNP personnel to really enforce the no swimming policy temporary,” Bernardino said.

Meanwhile, the official said they are planning to review all existing municipal ordinances to determine if they remain relevant to the current situation in the tourist island.

“There’s a need to, you know, palakasin pa iyong penalties niya (strengthen the penalities). (Strengthen the) penalty system para talaga ma-prevent, ma-deter ang mga (to prevent, to deter the) violators from doing various violations,” Bernardino said.

Based on the current municipal ordinance of Malay, Aklan, illegal waste disposal in public places in Boracay such as the beach area is punishable with P2,500 fine which, according to Bernardino, is definitely a small amount. – MNP (with details from Vincent Arboleda)

DENR eyes restoring original width of Marikina River to reduce flood risk

Marje Pelayo   •   November 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said Marikina River must be widened to reduce flood risk.

During a recent visit to Marikina City, Cimatu recommended the widening of Marikina River to increase its flood carrying capacity.

The recommendation comes after Marikina City and nearby areas were submerged in flood waters during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses.

The environment chief noticed that the river channel was narrow, prompting him to call for strict imposition of easement requirements pertaining to rivers.

Presidential Decree 1067, also known as the Philippine Water Code, requires riverbank easement of three meters in urban areas.

As part of the planned rehabilitation, Cimatu said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will evaluate the changes in the width of Marikina River based on the data from the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NMRIA).

“We will look into the old river and how the river became narrower through the years,” Cimatu said. 

“We will restore the original width of the Marikina River,” he added.

At the same time, Cimatu said the DENR will look into the complaint of the Marikina City government over the alleged reclamation project along the river, which has not secured an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) from the environment department.

“Definitely, there should be no reclamation. I will really implement the easement law,” he said.

Cimatu said he has directed the DENR-National Capital Region office to look into the non-issuance of ECC, the reclamation, and the retaining wall built along the riverbanks.

Kaso ng COVID-19 transmission sa Cebu City, bumababa na – Cimatu

Robie de Guzman   •   October 23, 2020

Patuloy nang bumababa ng antas ng COVID-19 transmission sa Cebu City kasabay ng pagdami naman ng mga gumagaling mula sa sakit, ayon kay DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu.

Batay sa hawak nilang impormasyon ngayong buwan ng Oktubre, sinabi ni Cimatu na nasa 1 hanggang 0.5 percent ang positivity rate sa lungsod.

Ibig sabihin aniya ay isa na lang ang nagpopositibo sa sakit sa bawat 100 na isinasailalim sa COVID-19 testing.

Ngayong Oktubre, umabot sa 9,307 ang bilang ng mga gumaling mula sa COVID-19 at walang napaulat na nasawi.

“If you look at the data, more than 600 death ang all of Cebu City since June and bigla na lang naging zero, what is this? This the indication really of the success of the effort of this team,” ang pahayag ni Cimatu.

Si Cimatu ay nagsisilbing chief implementor ng COVID-19 response ng pamahalaan sa Cebu City. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Irish Madelo)

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Dolomite not washed out; black sand ‘washed in’ — DENR

Marje Pelayo   •   October 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu conducted a surprise inspection of the Manila Bay Beach Nourishment site on Wednesday (October 14).

Accompanied by Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta, Cimatu visited the site following reports that the artificial white sand in the area has been washed away after days of continuous rain.

Peralta himself requested for the visit as part of their mandate of ensuring that the said government project is properly progressing.

The DENR Chief stressed there was no washing off of the dolomite white sand in Manila Bay, contrary to reports circulating on social media.

The agency explained that the natural blank sand deposit in the area covered the white sand by one to three feet thick resulting in the sand turning black.

“Nakita po na puro kasinungalingan iyong lumabas na na-wash out po ang white sand natin (Reports that the white sand has been washed out are all lies),” DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said.

“Ang nangyari talaga is wash in. Ang nangyari po is pumasok iyong itim na buhangin at pumatong sa white dolomite (What really happened was a “wash in”. The black sand washed ashore and covered the white dolomite),” he added.

In September, President Rodrigo Duterte himself lauded the efforts of Cimatu in the full rehabilitation of Manila Bay. 

He expressed high confidence in Cimatu despite criticisms on the use of crushed dolomite boulders to cover the coastline of Manila Bay. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

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